Press Release
August 23, 2009


Senator Edgardo J. Angara is urging the Senate to pass a mandate to provide for more school buildings in the country to reduce classroom-student ratio to an ideal proportion within five years. Senate Bill 911-the School Building Program Act of 2007-aims to address this setback in the government's efforts to further improve the quality of education for Filipinos.

The national classroom-student ratio for elementary and secondary public schools is still far from the ideal 1:30 ratio, due largely to the free education program, which has not yet been met by a corresponding increase in the number of classrooms.

The current ratio is averaging at 1:50 each for a double-shift scenario daily. The actual class size in public schools ranges from 60 to 100, which lags behind the class size in Thailand (18), Malaysia (19), China (24), Taiwan (14) and Indonesia (22).

"Out of the P11.30 Billion fund needed to address the backlog in the education system, 40% (or P4.61 Billion) will be allocated for classroom building alone. This amount is just enough to cover a shortage of 6,000 classrooms. Based on DepEd records, the total nationwide classroom shortage is 41,197 and rising; at current prices, the government will need at least P16 Billion of additional funding to fully address the classroom shortage," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, points out.

Furthermore, 20% of the country's classrooms have no proper ventilation, 27% have no lighting, 55% do not have electricity and 25% have no ceilings. In 2005, 20% of elementary and secondary schools did not have science laboratories.

Consistent with Republic Act 7880 (Fair and Equitable Access to Education Act) the bill will create an inter-agency committee, composed of the DepEd, DBM, DILG and DPWH, to submit to the Committee on Education of both houses of Congress a comprehensive school building program.

The new bill will authorize DepEd to enter into build-operate-transfer, build-transfer, build-lease-transfer or rehabilitate-operate-transfer schemes with pre-qualified private contractors for the design, financing, construction and maintenance of school buildings. This is also a derivative of the Build-Operate-Transfer Law (RA 6957).

The amount needed for this Act to be implemented will be appropriated from the unallocated share of the national government in the five-year earnings of PAGCOR. If more need be, the General Appropriations Act may cover such amount.

Angara is hopeful: "With the passage of this bill, class sizes will be reduced to a manageable and ideal proportions level for a more conducive learning environment and thus result in the improvement of the quality of education."

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